Skip to main content

Full text of "An old Kansas Indian town on the Missouri"

See other formats


An 
Old  Kansas  Indian  Town 

On 
The  Missouri 


BY 

GEORGE  J.  REMSBURG 


Member  of 

International  Society  of  Archaeologists 
National  Geographic  Society,  Ktc. 


Gift  of  C.  A.  Kofoid 


I  H 

An 
Old  Kansas  Indian  Town 

On 
The  Missouri 


BY 
GEORGE  J.  REMSBURG 


G.  A.  CHANDLER 

Printer 
Plymouth,  Iowa 

nil 


EN  FURIES  ago  mention  was  made  by  the  French  explorers 
of  the  large  or  main  village  of  the  "Quans"  on  the  southwest 
bank  of  the  Missouri  river,  about  thirty  leagues  above  the  mouth  of 
the  "Quans"  river.  The  Quans  were  the  Kansa  or  Konza  Indians 
from  whom  the  state  of  Kansas  derived  its  name.  They  were  visit 
ed  by  De  Bourgmont,  in  1724,  while  on  his  famous  expedition  to  the 
Fadoucas.  The  exact  location  of  this  noted  old  village  of  Bourg- 
mont's  time,  heretofore,  has  never  been  defin  itely  determined,  al 
though  the  ruins  of  the  old  town  on  the  Missouri  were  observed  and 
mentioned  by  explorers  and  travelers  for  many  years  subsequent  ta 
the  early  French  explorations. 

Professor  Dunbar  apparently,  authentically,  has  designated  At- 
chison,  Kansas  as  the  site  of  the  old  village,  while  Kansas  historians 
generally  evade  the  question  by  vaguely  referring  to  the  old  Kaw 
village  "at"  or  "near  the  present  site  of  Atchison,  which  is  based 
merely  on  an  approximation  of  the  distance  above  the  Kansas  and 
Little  Platte  rivers,  without  taking  into  consideration  the  topograph 
ical  and  other  features  so  essential  in  determining  such  matters. 
After  carefully  studying  all  available  data  bearing  on  the  subject, 
including  the  chronicles  of  most  of  the  early  explorers  who  mention 
the  old  village,  and  inoroughly  examining  the  whole  region  along 
the  Missouri  river  north  01  the  Kansas,  1  have  concluded  that  the 
nistoric  old  town  of  Doniphari,  five  miles  north  of  the  city  of  Atchi 
son,  was  the  prehistoric  capital  of  tne  Kaws.  The  historical,  topo 
graphical  and  archaeological  evidence  adequately  sustains  such  an 
opinion.  Before  going  into  details  I  will  succinctly  give  a  few  of 
til?  more  important  reasons  for  my  belief  that  the  old  Kansas  vil 
lage  was  so  located. 

First  — Doniphan  corresponds  approximately  with  the  distances 
i hat  the  early  explorers  place  the  old  village  above  the  Kansas  and 
Little  Platte  rivers,  and  other  defin  Ite  points  on  the  Missouri. 

Second -Lewis  and  Clark,  and  other  explorers,  who  saw  there- 
laains  of  the  old  town  explicitly  state  that  it  was  a  mile,  or  a  little 
above  Independence  creek. 


Third— Doniphan  is  the  most  ideal  situation  for  an  Indian  vil 
lage  in  that  region,  and  the  only  desirable  site  for  such  a  stewithin 
a  mile  of  Independence  creek  to  the  north. 

Fourth— The  fine  prairies,  which  may  be  seen  from  points  sev 
eral  miles  below;  the  bend  in  the  river,  and  other  natural  features 
at  or  near  the  old  village  site  as  recorded  by  the  early  explorers  are 
identifiable  with  the  present  townsite  of  Doniphan  and  vicinity. 

Fifth— The  large  amount  of  archaeological  material,  the  prehis 
toric  relics,  the  graves  and  other  such  remains  found  at  Doniphan 
and  vicinity  indicate  unmistakably  that  it  was  an  important  seat  of 
aboriginal  occupancy. 

Sixth— Old  settlers  of  undoubted  reliability  have  seen  on  the 
Doniphan  townsite  numerous  hut  rings  or  lodge  circles  of  an  anci 
ent  Indian  village,  and  from  their  descriptions  of  the  same  they 
were  exactly  similar  to  those  of  the  later  day  villages  of  the  Kansas 
Indians  at  Manhattan,  Valencia,  Council  Grove  and  other  places,  de 
noting  tha  hemispheric  earthen  huts  that  these  Indians  are  known 
to  have  always  constructed  as  their  dwelling  places. 

In  the  summer  of  1724  Captain  Ecienne  Veagard  deBourgmont, 
military  com mander  of  the  colony  of  Louisiana,  set  out  on  an  over 
land  expedition  from  Fort  Orleans  to  the  village  of  the  Kansas  Ind 
ians,  on  the  Missouri  river,  and  from  there  to  the  province  of  Pad- 
oucas,  or  what  is  now  known  as  the  Comanche  tribe  of  Indians,  in 
what  is  now  Western  Kansas.  Bourgmont  was  accompanied  by 
Ensign  Bellerive,  Sieur  Philip  Renaudiere,  mining  engineer  and  dir 
ector  general  of  mines  for  the  colony  of  Louisiana,  five  soldiers,  three 
Canadians,  servants  and  176  Missouri  and  Osage  Indians  command 
ed  by  the  grand  chief  of  the  former  tribe.  Bourgmont  had  previous 
ly  dispatched  to  the  Kansas  village  several  boatloads  of  merchandise 
under  command  of  Lieutenant  Saint-Ange  and  guarded  by  eleven 
soldiers.  On  tli2  afternoon  of  July  7, 1724,  B our gn on t's  party  ar 
rived  on  the  east  bank  of  the  Missouri  river,  opposite  the  village  of 
the  Kansas.  The  next  morning  they  crossed  in  a  pirogue,  the 
horses  being  swam  over  and  the  Indians  transported  on  rafts.  "We 
debarked/'  says  Bourgmont,  "within  gunshot  distance  of  of  the  vil 
lage  where  we  camped."  Bourgmont's  arrival  was  made  an  ocasion 
of  much  demonstration.  From  July  8  to  24  the  time  was  spent  in 
feasting,  powwows,  trading  horses  and  peltries,  making  presents  to 
the  Indians  and  getting  ready  for  the  journey  to  the  Padoucas.  The 
river  detachment  arrived  July  19.  On  the  24th  the  "grand  departure 
was  made,  or  to  use  the  words  of  Bourgmont,  "we  put  ourselves  in 
battle  array  on  the  hight  of  th?  village,  the  drum  began  to  beat  the 
march  and  we  marched  away."  The  strange  procession  consisted 


of  Bourgmont 's  force,  300  Indian  warriors  with  two  grand  chiefs  and 
fourteen  war  chiefs,  300  Indian  women,  500  Indian  children  and  500 
dogs  carrying  and  draging  provisions,  etc.  The  object  of  the  ex 
pedition  was  to  induce  the  Padoucas,  who  were  friendly  to  the  Span 
ish,  to  enter  into  a  treaty  of  peace  and  an  alliance  with  the  Missouri. 
Kansas,  Osage,  Otoe  and  Iowa  tribes,  allies  of  the  French,  with 
whom  they  (the  Paducas)  were  at  war.  Bourgmont  reached  the 
main  village  of  the  Padoucas  October  18,  1724.  A  peace  treaty  and 
alliance  was  effected  and  the  party  returned  to  Fort  Orleans,  arriv 
ing  November  5,  1724. 

Bourgmont  is  very  indefinite  as  to  the  location  of  the  Kaws, 
but  Renoudiere,  in  his  memorandum  of  the  expedition,  says  that 
thirty  leagues  above  the  "Quans"  river  "a  small  river  flowing  from 
the  north  is  found;  here  is  the  great  village  of  the  Quans,  consisting 
of  150  lodges  adjoining  the  Missouri.  There  are  fine  prairies  to  the 
south  and  many  m:>j  itains  to  the  west."  It  is  evident  that  this 
chronicler  of  the  Bourgmont  expedition  mistook  Rock  creek  for  the 
main  continuation  of  Independence  creek.  The  general  course  of 
the  Independence  is  from  a  westerly  direction,  but  about  a  mile  and 
a  half  above  its  mouth  it  takes  a  sharp  turn  to  the  south,  flowing 
straight  in  this  direction  lor  nearly  a  mile  when  it  makes  another 
acute  turn  to  the  east  for  about  one-half  of  a  mile  to  its  mouth. 
That  part  of  the  channel  extending  north  and  south  is  almost  on  a 
straight  line  with  that  of  Rock  creek,  the  merging  of  the  Independ 
ence  basin  with  that  of  Rock  creek  making  a  clearly  defined  valley 
much  more  prominent  than  the  main  valley  of  Independence  from 
Rock  creek  westward.  Corning  as  it  does  from  the  prairie  the  Inde 
pendence  valley  at  this  point  is  not  so  noticeable  as  that  of  Rock 
creek  which  is  bordered  by  high  hills,  or ''many  mountains,"  as  Re- 
rioudiere  saw  fit  to  term  the  prominent  elevations  lying  west  of  the 
Kansas  village.  Any  person  not  acquainted  with  the  country,  look 
ing  north  from  near  the  mouth  of  the  Independence  would  readily 
cake  the  valley  of  Rock  creek  for  the  main  trend  or  continuation  of 
Independence  valley.  The  "fine  prairies,"  mentioned  by  Renoudiere 
are  readily  noticeable  off  south  and  southwest  of  Doniphan.  In  fact 
the  country  south  and  west  of  Doniphan  tallies  almost  exactly  with 
the  descriptions  given  in  the  journals  of  the  expedition;  for  instance 
Bourgmont  mentions  that  a  half  league  southwest  of  the  Kansas  vil 
lage  a  small  river  was  passed.  Independence  creek  is  just  about 
that  distance  southeast  of  Doniphan.  In  another  account  we  find 
that  shortly  after  leaving  the  village  they  "marched  about  a  league 
and  a  half  along  a  river  coming  from  the  southwest."  Deer  creek 
comes  into  the  Independence  near  its  mouth  from  a  southwesterly 


direction. 

Those  who  passed  up  the  Missouri  river  after  the  old  Indian 
town  was  deserted,  noticed  its  ruins  on  the  river  bank  and  mention 
it  in  their  journals.  Although  Bourgmont  mentions  only  one  vil 
lage  of  the  Kansas,  it  will  be  noticed  that  the  later  explorers  refer 
to  two  old  village  sites  of  this  tribe.  The  Kansas  no  doubt  had  sev- 

"  eral  villages  on  the  Missouri  at  different  periods,  though  the  "sec 
ond"  village  site  mentioned  by  Lewis  and  Clark  and  others  was  the 
main,  and  perhaps  the  only,  village  of  the  tribe  at  the  time  of  Bourg- 
mont's  visit.  It  is  hardly  likely  that  the  "first"  or  lower  village  was 
contemporaneous  with  the  upper,  lor  in  sue  a  wise  Bourgmont 
would  have  mentioned  it.  On  the  contrary,  it  is  more  pro uable 
that  the  lower  v^iage  Cither  belonged  to  an  earlier  period  or  occu 
pancy,  or  had  not  been  such  an  extensive  and  long  existent  popu 
lace  as  the  upper,  for  Lewis  and  Clark  state  that  ih.-re  were  no 
traces  of  the  former  left,  while  the  remains  of  the  L^er  were  still 
visible  to  the  extent  that  it  appeared  to  have  once  been  a  large  town. 
Traces  of  an  Indian  viLage  may  still  be  seen  at  the  lower  sue  (Sajt 
creek  valley),  but  it  requires  the  scrutiny  of  an  antiquarian  to  iden- 

"tify  its  location,  the  indica  being  scarcely  visible  to  the  casual  eye. 
Perrin  da  Lac,  in  1802,  says  that  thirty-five  miles  above  the 
mouth  of  the  Kansas,  on  the  Missouri  river,  his  party  found  one  of 
the  old  villages  of  the  Kansas,  and  twenty-two. miles  beyond  this  the 
other.  Hon.  J.  V.  Brower,  in  his  "Missouri  River"  published  in  1897 
gives  the  distance  by  river  channel  from  the  Kansas  river  to  the 
Fort  Leavenworth  bridge  as  thirty-two  miles,  vvhich  would  make  it 
just  about  thirtyfive  miles  to  Salt  creek  where  there  are  evidences 
of  an  Indian  village  site  on  the  farm  ot  Mr.  Thomas  Daniels.  From 
Salt  creek  to  Doniphan,  the  distance  by  river  channel  is,  approxi 
mately,  somewhere  in  the  neighborhood  of  twenty-two  miles. 

"Three  miles  before  we  arrived  at  the  last  village,"  says  Du 
Lac,  "we  percieved  some  iron  ore."  Along  the  bluffs,  three  miles 
below  Doniphan,  the  rocks  are  impregnated  to  a  considerable  ex 
tent  with  iron.  Lewis  and  Clark,  in  1804,  mention  the  remains  of 
both  of  the  old  villages,  the  first  t  vventy-eight  miles  above  Little 
River  Platte,  the  second  twenty-eight  miles  above  the  first.  It  might 
be  incidentally  stated  that  the  slight  variations  in  distances  as  given 
by  the  different  explorers  is  accounted  for  by  the  fact  that  the  chan 
nel  mileage  of  the  Missouri  river  does  not  remain  the  same  for  any 
long  period,  the  stream  shifting  its  course  at  frequent  intervals. 

On  July  4,  1804,  Lewis  and  Clark  discovered  a  stream  about 
thirty  yards  wide,  which  they  named  Independence,  in  honor  of  the 

4 


Typical  Kansas  Artifacts 


1.  Discoidal  Stone.      2.  Flint  Hoe.      3.  Stone  Pipe.      4.  Flint  Drill. 
5.  Flint  Knife.    6.  Flint  Tomahawk. 


day.  To  quote  their  journal,  they  "came  along  the  bank  of  an  ex 
tensive  and  beautiiul  prairie,  interspersed  with  copses  of  timber  and 
watered  by  Independence  creek.  On  this  bank  formerly  stood  the 
second  village  of  the  Kansas.  From  the  remains  it  must  have  been 
a  large  town."  "On  this  bank  stood  the  village"  signifies  on  the  bank 
of  the  prairie,  and  not  on  the  bank  of  Independence  creek,  for  in  an 
other  place  in  their  journal  (p.  1253  Cone's  Lewis  and  Clark)  they 
debi^ncue  'a  mile  abuve  Inuepeiiut^ice  creek"  as  the  situation  of 
the  old  village  If  the  village  was  anywhere  within  a  mile  of  the 
Independence  to  the  north,  it  must  have  been  where  Doniphan  now 
stands,  for  that  is  the  only  desirable  suuation  f  >r  a  i  Indian  villain, 
within  that  distance  from  the  ceeek.  Shortly  after  leaving  the  old 
village  site  Lewis  and  Clark  passed  a  small  stream  which  they  call 
ed  Yellow  Ochre  cree.v,  from  a  bank  of  that  mineral  a  little  above 
it.  About  three  miles  above  Doniphan,  at  Geary,  there  empties  in 
to  the  Missouri  a  small  stream  called  Brush  Creek,  which  was  doubt 
less  the  "Yellow  Ochre"  of  Lewis  and  Clark's  day,  i  jr  me  "bank" 
of  that  mineral  from  which  they  so  named  the  stream  is  vis  ible  "a 
little  above"  the  creek,  as  they  stated.  C.  B.  Roundy,  of  Geary,  once 
sent  some  of  that  mineral  subscance  to  be  e  id.nmed  by  experts  and 
they  pronounced  it  "ochre  of  poor  quality." 

Sergent  Floyd,  of  the  Lewis  and  Clark  expedition,  in  an  indiv 
idual  diary,  speaks  of  Independence  creek  coming  out  of  an  "exten 
sive  prairie,  open  and  high,  which  may  be  seen  six  or  seven  miles 
below."  Brackenridge,  in  1811,  also  mentions  the  fine  view  of 
the  prairies  and  the  old  village  sire,  which  could  be  obtained  below. 
The  country  about  Doniphan  may  be  seen  very  plainly  from  the 
Aiciiison  biic!ge,  and  even  as  fai  down  as  the  bend  of  the  river  be 
low  Atchison.  John  Bradbury,  in  his  "Travels  in  the  Interior  of 
America,"  1333-10-11,  mentions  goin^  ashore  at  the  old  Kansas  vil 
lage  and  noting  the  ^reat  fertility  of  tne  soil  and  the  abundance  of 
hops,  but  is  indefin  ite  as  to  its  location.  However  taking  into 
consideration  the  natural  features  of  the  country  as  depicted  in  that 
portion  of  his  journal  leading  up  to  the  old  village  site,  they  corre 
spond  pretty  closely  to  existing  topographical  conditions,  and  point 
consentaneously  with  the  narratives  of  Lewis  and  Clark  and  others 
to  Doniphan,  as  the  seat  of  Kaw occupancy  in  Bourgmont's time. 
H.  M.  Brackenridge,  in  the  journal  of  his  voyage  up  the  Missouri 
in  1811,  mentions  the  old  village  as  follows;  "High  prairies  south 
west  side— continued  under  sail  through  another  long  stretch  ( of 
prairie)  and  had  a  fine  view  of  the  old  Kansas  village  at  the  upper 
end  of  it.  It  is  high  prairie,  srmoth  waving  hills,  perfectly  green, 
with  a  few  clumps  of  trees  in  the  hollows.  It  was  formerly  a  vil- 


lage  of  the  old  Kansas  nation.  But  for  the  scarcity  of  wood  this 
would  be  a  delightful  situation  for  a  town.  At  this  place  the  bend 
of  the  river  rendered  the  wind  unfavorable."  He  also  mentions  the 
old  Indian  pathways  along  the  sides  of  the  hills  and  down  to  the 
river.  Luther  Dickerson  and  other  early  settlers  recall  that  these 
old  Indian  paths  or  trails  were  plainly  visible,  leading  out  in  almost 
every  direction  from  Doniphan  in  the  early  days,  and  some  of  them 
where  not  too  much  disturbed  by  cultivation,  may  yet  be  observed. 
Major  Stephen  H.  Long,  while  on  his  celebrated  expedition  to  the 
Rocky  mountains  in  1819-20,  says  that  after  leaving  Isle  au  Vache, 
"we  proceeded  in  the  course  of  the  day  about  twenty-three  miles 
and  encamped  at  night  near  the  entrance  of  a  small  scream  called 
Independence  creek.  A  little  above,  (Independence  creek),  and  on 
the  south  side  of  the  river,  is  the  site  of  an  old  Konza  town,  called 
formerly  the  village  of  the  twenty-four."  Major  Lon^,  in  his  jour 
nal  and  on  his  map,  places  the  old  village  "a  little  above  Independ 
ence  creek,"  or  at  about  the  present  townsite  of  Doniphan.  Major 
Long  is  the  only  one  of  the  early  explorors  who  alludes  to  the  old  In 
dian  town  as  the  'Village  of  the  twenty-four."  I  have  somewhere 
seen  it  alluded  to  as  the  "village  of  the  Big  Four."  The  reasons  for 
these  appelations  seem  to  be  obscure,  or  at  least  I  can  find  no  ex 
planation  of  them.  Isle  au  Vache,  or  Cow  island,  is  in  the  Missouri 
river,  near  the  southern  line  of  Atchison  county.  Councils  were 
held  with  the  Kaw  Indians  on  this  island  in  1819,  and  later  when 
th?  tribe  lived  on  the  Kansas  river. 

The  late  Hon.  Luther  Dickerson,  who  was  generally  known  as 
the  ''oldest  inhabitant"  of  this  region,  says  there  can  be  no  doubt 
about  the  site  of  Doniphan  having  been  occupied  by  an  Indian  vil 
lage  in  prehistoric  times.  Mr.  Dickerson  came  here  in  June,  1854, 
and  often  visited  the  present  site  of  Doniphan  before  the  pioneer 
settlers  selected  it  as  a  townsite.  He  says  that  the  old  Indian  lodge 
circles,  with  fire  pits  in  the  center,  were  plainly  visible  in  many 
places  in  Doniphan  in  the  early  days.  These,  were  especially  notice 
able  where  the  public  school  building  now  stands.  The  earth  in 
many  places  was  intermingled  with  charcoal,  ashes,  and  other  de 
bris  of  the  Indian  village.  Mr.  Dickerson  says  that  as  near  as  he 
can  remember  the  rings  or  circles  where  the  Indian  wigwams  stood 
and  which  were  quite  numerous,  were  about  twenty  feet  in  diameter 
and  in  the  center  of  each  was  a  cavity  filled  with  ashes  and  char 
coal.  Professor  Say,  who  visited  the  Kansas  Indians  in  their  village 
near  the  present  town  of  Manhatten  in  1819,  says  that  the  ground 
area  of  each  lodge  was  circular,  and  that  the  fireplace  was  a  simple 
cavity  in  the  center  of  the  apartment.  On  the  Kansas  river,  wher- 


ever  the  Kaws  had  their  later  day  villages,  these  circles  in  the  earth 
are  still  to  be  seen. 

Judge  W.  H.  H.  Curtis,  of  Troy,  who  was  one  of  the  early  set 
tlers  of  Doniphan,  in  response  to  inquires,  writes  that  from  his  own 
observations,  as  well  as  from  the  statements  of  the  late  James  F.  and 
John  W.  Forman,  the  Doniphan  pioneers,  he  is  convinced  that  Doni 
phan  was  the  site  of  an  important  Indian  village.  '"I  have  heard 
James  F.  Fonnan  and  ins  Biuuici,  Julm  Vvr.  Foniian,  talk  about  the 
ancient  village,"  says  Mr.  Curtis,  and  further  adds  that  they  were 
firm  in  the  belief  that  the  ancient  Indian  village  existed  there.  The 
Forman  brothers  came  to  that  vicinity  as  Indian  trader?  long  before 
Kansas  was  open  for  settlement.  They  surveyed  and  platted  the 
townsite  of  Doniphan.  Mr.  Curtis'  own  observations  lead  him  to 
believe  that  the  ancient  village  "circled  around  the  spot  where  Don 
iphan  now  stands;  or  more  correctly  speaking,  the  village  must 
have  been  in  the  form  of  a  crescent,  extending  from  east  to  west,  at 
the  north  outskirts  of  what  is  now  the  townsite  proper  .  .  .  When 
a  boy  I  saw  many  Indian  relics  near  Doniphan,"  continues  Mr.  Cur 
tis,  "and  I  know  of  many  others  who  have  found  axes,  arrow  and 
spear  heads,  human  bones,  and  what  appear  to  have  been  old  bury 
ing  grounds  both  east  and  west  of  Doniphan." 

Isaac  F.  Weyer,  the  "village  blacksmith"  of  Doniphan,  who  liv 
ed  there  nearly  fifty  years,  also  recalls  having  heard  the  Forman 
brothers  speak  about  the  remains  of  an  ancient  village  at  Doniphan 
and  says  he  has  always  heard  a  tradition  that  there  was  once  a 
large  Indian  town  at  or  near  that  place.  W.  H.  Nesbit,  one  of  the 
founders  of  Doniphan,  says  that  at  an  early  day  large  masses  of 
charcoal,  pottery  and  other  burnt  substances  were  exposed  by  the 
caving  or  washing  away  of  the  banks  of  the  small  creek  which 
flows  through  Doniphan.  He  also  says  that  the  rock  shelters  or 
small  caverns  in  the  sides  of  the  high  bluffs  about  Doniphan  con 
tained  the  bones  of  Indians;  with  pottery  vessels,  arrowheads,  etc. 
The  late  T.  J.  Ingals,  of  Atchison,  who  was  as  well  acquainted 
around  Doniphan  as  any  other  man,  and  who  was  a  close  observer 
along  natural  history  and  archaeolo  iical  lines,  wrote  me  May  27, 
1904;  "I  should  think  from  the  number  of  graves  and  stone  relics 
found  in  and  about  Doniphan  that  it  was  vastly  populated  at  some 
time  in  the  past.  Not  only  on  the  George  Brenner  land,  but  through 
out  the  old  townsite  the  loose  stones  scattered  about  over  the  sur 
face  and  even  under  the  surface,  show  marks  of  fire."  Mr.  Ingels 
has  done  much  prospecting  for  water  and  drilled  many  wells  in  that 
vicinity  and  had  excellent  opportunity  for  observation.  The  writer 
once  found  a  lot  of  burned  stones,  together  with  burned  earth  and 


pottery  fragments,  exposed  by  the  caving  of  the  creek  bank  just 
south  of  the  public  school  building  in  Doniphan.  On  another  occas 
ion  I  found  a  hammer  stone  projecting  from  the  bank  nearly  two 
feet  below  the  surface.  While  strolling  along  the  main  street  of 
Doniphan  on  October  19,  1903, 1  picked  up  three  flint  arrow  points, 
and  Observed  numerous  chips  or  spalls  of  flint  that  had  washed 
from  a  small  gully  at  one  side  of  the  thoroughfare.  The  late  Rich 
ard  Dempsey,  an  old  resident,  and  for  many  years  road  supervisor 
in  that  vicinity,  informed  the  writer  that  in  making  grades  on  the 
roads  he  had  occasionally  turned  up  baked  clay,  charcoal,  pstshards 
and  fragments  of  stone  implements.  When  th  j  roadbed  of  the  old 
A.  &  N.  railroad  was  made  through  Doniphan  in  1869  the  workmen 
unearthed  similar  material  and  at  the  present  time  there  is  frequent 
ly  picked  up,  from  the  dirt  which  was  thrown  out  alon£  this  grade, 
arrow  points,  hatchets,  etc. 

The  late  Frank  Kitzmiller,  of  Highland,  under  date  of  April  20, 
1894,  wrote  me:  "I  have  been  informed  by  several  parties  that  many 
Indian  relics  have  been  found  at  Doniphan,  and  from  what  I  can 
learn  it  must  have  been  once  occupied  by  an  Indian  village.  I 
understand  that  the  rubbish  of  the  old  tepees  is  occasionally  met 
with  in  digging  trenches  and  making  other  excavations.  One  man 
there  has  promised  to  bring  me  a  lot  of  stone  relics  which  he  plow 
ed  up  in  the  town  of  Doniphan."  Mr.  Kitzmiller  had  an  interesting 
collection  oi  Indian  relics  gathered  in  Doniphan  county.  Mrs.  Jane 
Spencer  says  that  in  making  excavations  on  her  farm  just  north  of 
town  pottery  has  been  unearthed.  Mrs.  Spencer  came  to  Doniphan 
with  her  late  husband  in  1855.  At  that  time  there  was  evidence  of 
an  Indian  graveyard  on  the  land  which  they  pre-empted  and  on 
which  she  still  lives.  Many  wagonloads  of  loose  limestones  were 
hauled  from  a  field  on  their  farm.  Sae  has  observed  numerous  Ind 
ian  relics  and  has  several  in  her  possession  now.  Thomas  Logan 
reports  numerous  evidences  of  Indian  occupancy  on  his  farm  near 
Doniphan.  James  A.  Dunning,  of  St.  Joseph,  Mo.,  formerly  of  Don 
iphan,  writes  that  Indian  relics  were  so  very  common  there  in  the 
early  days  that  but  little  attention  was  paid  to  them.  "I  have  gath 
ered  my  hat  full  of  arrowheads  on  the  creek  bank;  also  stone  axes 
and  war  clubs  by  the  dozens.  Years  after,  in  plowing  over  my  fath 
er's  farm,  we  have  picked  up  beads  and  pottery,  the  latter  being 
similar  to  that  I  have  seen  from  the  cliff  dwellings/'  Joseph  Geis- 
endorf  says  he  has  found  many  stone  relics  on  the  same  farm. 
Charles  Kuch,  the  postmaster  at  Doniphan,  says  that  the  boys  have 
gathered  innumerable  arrowpoints  on  the  land  occupied  by  the 
Brenner  vinyards,  and  N.  G.  Brenner  corroborates  this  statement 

8 


and  says  he  has  found  hundreds  of  them  himself  on  the  same  ground 
Indian  burial  mounds  and  graves  are  numerous  on  the  hills  sur 
rounding  Doniphan.  External  evidences  of  many  of  these  sepulch- 
ers  have  been  obliterated,  but  here  and  there  may  still  be  seen  lime 
stone  slabs  set  in  the  ground  in  regular  order,  or  piled  up  irregular 
ly,  to  mark,  the  last  resting  place  of  some  aboriginal  denizen  of 
Doniphan.  In  some  instances  these  graves  may  belong  to  the  Sac 
and  Foxes,  or  other  modern  ludiaus,  uut  u  is  oellev^d  that  the  ma 
jority  of  them  belonged  to  the  ancient  Kaws.  Rev.  Isaac  McCoy,  a 
missionary  among  the  Western  Indians  at  an  early  day,  speaking  of 
the  Kaw  methods  of  burial,  says:  "They  frequently  deposited  the 
dead  on  or  near  the  surface  and  raised  over  the  corpse  a  heap  of 
stones."  Hon.  George  P.  Moorehouse,  of  Council  Grove,  who  has 
seen  and  studied  the  Kavvs,  when  they  lived  at  that  place,  says  that 
he  has  often  noticed  their  graves,  usually  on  top  of  some  near  bluff 
or  high  ground,  and  that  they  were  often  covered  writ  h  slabs  of  lime 
stone.  Mrs.  Mary  J.  Forman,  widow  of  tfie  Doniphan  pioneer,  John 
W.  Forman,  writes  from  Canton,  Mo.:  "On  the  hill  west  of  the 
John  Forman  residence  (since  owned  by  George  Brenner)  there 
were  indications  of  an  Indian  graveyard,  piles  of  rock  seeming  to 
have  been  used  as  monuments  or  to  mark  some  place  of  note."  Mrs. 
Jane  Spencer  mentions  similar  graves  on  her  farm  at  an  early  day. 
L.  Clem,  who  has  lived  in  that  vicinity  about  thirty  years  and  who 
has  hunted  throughout  that  region,  observed  many  such  piles  of 
stone  when  he  first  located  there.  Luther  Dickerson  says  there  are 
several  small  mounds  on  land  belonging  to  J.P.  Brown,  of  Atchison 
on  the  river  bluffs  south  of  Independence  creek.  H.  J.  Adams,  of 
Leroy,  Kas.,  a  son  of  the  iate  Secretary  Adams,  of  the  Kansas  His 
torical  Society,  who  formerly  lived  near  Doniphan,  while  digging  a 
cellar  on  the  crest  of  a  river  bluff  south  of  Independence  creek,  in 
1868,  exhumed  the  skeleton  of  an  Indian.  It  was  about  two  feet  be 
low  the  surface  and  covered  with  stones.  James  Eylar  reports  sev 
eral  graves  just  north  of  Doniphan,  and  in  the  same  neighborhood 
"firepits  on  top  of  the  river  bluff,  in  which  the  charred  bones  resem 
bling  those  of  human  beings."  He  also  mentions  a  grave  on  Inde 
pendence  creek  west  of  Doniphan  in  which  was  found  a  human 
skeleton,  together. with  a  small  headless  image  and  some  beads. 
There  were  also  traces  of  fire  in  this  grave.  Further  west,  on  the 
Auld  farm,  are  other  graves,  near  which  have  been  found  many 
stone  axes. 

Several  years  ago  the  writer,  accompanied  by  T.  J.  Ingels,  of 
Atchison,  and  C.  A.  Bruner,  of  Oak  Mills,  opened  a  stone  mound  on 
the  high  hill  west  of  Doniphan,  but  it  had  either  been  despoiled  of 


its  contents  by  relic  hunters  or  else  the  descendents  of  the  dead  war* 
ior  had  removed  his  remains  to  another  place,  for  not  even  a  human 
bone  remained  in  it.  Early  settlers  recall  having  seen  the  Indians 
come  to  this  place  at  an  early  day,  and  after  weird  ceremonies,  ex 
hume  the  remains  of  dead  Indians  and  carry  them  away.  Where 
.they  came  from  and  whither  they  went  was  never  learned. 

On  another  hill  on  the  farm  of  John  Myers,  near  the  junction  of 
Independence  and  Rock  creeks,  the  writer,  assisted  by  J.  B.  Loftin, 
an  intelligent  citizen  of  that  vicinity,  explored  an  Indian  mound. 
This  mound  was  originally  covered  with  stones,  but  most  of  them 
had  been  removed  by  Mr.  Meyers  in  cultivating  th  j  land.  The  con 
tents  of  the  mound  consisted  of  human  remains,  badly  charred  by 
fire,  pieces  of  burned  wjod  and  charcoal,  numerous  ghss  and  por 
celain  and  bone  beads,  two  silver  (?)  finger  rings,  a  silver  breast 
plate,  fragments  of  silver  ear  bobs,  fragments  of  a  copper  bracelet, 
fragments  of  an  iron  kettle,  fragments  of  an  old-fashion  ?d  decorated 
porcelain  plate;  fragments  of  bone  instruments,  a  piece  of  steel  evi 
dently  used  as 'a  fire  striker,  many  flint  spalls  and  some  particles  of 
vermillion,  all  in  a  confused  mass.  Everything  indicated  that  this 
was  the  remains  of  a  "scaffold"  or  "tree  burial"  which  after  tumbl 
ing  down,  had  been  swept  by  prairie  fires  and  later  gathered  up  and 
deposited,  without  regularity,  in  a  stone  sepulchre. 

Dr.  R.  S.  Dinsmore,  of  Troy,  Kansas,  has  gathered  many  fine 
Indian  artifacts  from  the  vicinity  of  Doniphan,  and  opened  a  small 
burial  mound  near  the  place  that  evidently  had  been  opened  before 
and  despoiled  of  its  contents.  Dr.  Dinsmore  and  M.  E.  Zimmerman 
and  Edward  Park,  of  White  Cloud,  have  fine  collections,  mostly 
gathered  in  Doniphan  County. 

The  writer  has  examined  many  Indian  village  sites  in  Kansas, 
but  there  has  never  come  under  his  observation  a  more  ideal  locat 
ion  for  a  permanent  seat  of  aboriginal  habitation  than  at  the  old 
townsite  of  Doniphan.  Situated  about  midway  of  the  great  west 
ern  bend  of  the  Missouri,  or  the  grande  detour  of  the  Missouri,  as 
the  French  voyageurs  called  it;  encircled  by  a  chain  of  high  hills, 
with  a  gap  on  the  east  which  afforded  the  villagers  a  splendid  view 
of  and  easy  access  to  the  river,  and  through  which  they  could  read 
ily  perceive  the  approach  of  an  enemy  on  the  water;  while  the  over 
towering  hills  at  almost  every  point  of  the  compass  provided  natur 
al  watch  towers  where  they  could  guard  against  the  enroachments 
of  a  foe  from  the  broad  prairie  that  stretches  off  in  every  direction; 
a  small  stream  flowing  through  this  natural  basin,  fed  by  several 
fine  springs,  afforded  a  constant  supply  of  fresh  water  to  the  occu 
pants  of  the  village,  while  just  over  the  devide  to  the  west  and 

10 


southwest  three  larger  streams,  one  of  them  navigable  for  canoes, 
unite  before  mingling  their  limpid  waters  with  the  murky  Missouri. 
Surrounded  by  every  natural  advantage  and  resource,  Doniphan  is 
an  ideal  dwelling  place  for  either  savage  or  civilized  man.  The  old 
Kansas  Herd  Book  thus  describes  it:  "Doniphan  stands  where  the 
corkscrew  Missouri  makes  a  sharp  turn  to  the  west  and  is  hurled 
back  upon  itself  by  a  high  wooded  bluff.  To  north  and  south  rise 
heavily  timbered  bluffs,  dipping  to  form  the  level  bottom  upon 
which  the  town  lies  nestled  from  the  prevailing  storm  currents  of 
winter."  Hon.  Sol  Miller's  famous  historical  edition  of  the  Kansas 
Chief  says  that  Doniphan  is  one  of  the  finest  natural  townsites  on 
the  Missouri  river.  Brackenridge,  one  of  the  old  -explorers,  speaks 
of  it  as  "a  delightful  situation  for  a  town." 


11 


RETURN     CIRCULATION  DEPARTMENT 

902  Main  Librar 


ALL  BOOKS  MAY  BE  RECALLED  AFTER  7  DAYS 

y  catting  642-3405 
y  bringing  the  books  t 
made  4  days  prior  to 

STAMPED  BELOW 


1-month  loans  may  be  renewed  by  catting  642-3405 

1-vear  loans  may  be  recharged  by  bringing  the  books  to  the  Circula. 

Renawals  and  recharges  may  be  made  4  days  prior  to  due  date 


UNIVERSITY  OF  CALIFORNIA 
FORM  NO.  DD6,60nv  1/83          BERKELEY,  CA  94720 


CIRCULATION  DEPT. 


PAMPHLET  BINDER 

Manufactured  k, 

6AYLORD  BROS.  Inc. 

Syracuse,  N.  Y. 


M315152